Divorce can be traumatic for all involved, especially if it’s circumstantial and not amicable. Going through a divorce can be emotionally draining, and often the healing process can take months—or even years. During times like these, you need all the support you can get.
But when your friends, family, and therapists have done all they can do—what then? That’s where transformative journaling comes in. Transformative journaling is an evidence-based therapeutic technique that helps you heal from emotional pain by giving yourself an outlet to process your feelings. And it can be used in conjunction with professional therapy or on its own.
Whether you’re a survivor of a recent divorce or going through the process right now, this article will show you how to use journaling to move on with your life in a healthy way. We’ll discuss what transformative journaling is, why it works, and how to get started with your own practice.
What Is Journaling and How Does It Help With Divorce-Related Trauma?
You may feel like you’re stuck in a state of limbo, unable to make sense of the emotions and thoughts flooding your mind. This is normal—divorce can be incredibly traumatic, and the pain it brings can feel overwhelming. Journaling can be an innovation to help you navigate through this difficult period.
Journaling in this manner, expressive writing, allows you to get out your thoughts and emotions in an organized way. By writing down your feelings, patterns become clearer as you gain perspective on how to move forward. It also allows for creative expression through visual art, drawing, and creative writing–all known therapeutic aids.
Journaling is a form of self-care that helps you understand and explore your feelings in a safe and reflective space. Opening up about your experiences can give you the clarity to move past them with more grace and understanding. It’s an essential practice for anyone dealing with divorce-related trauma, as it gives you the space to process painful emotions without judgment.
Benefits of Journaling for Healing From Divorce-Related Trauma
You may already know that journaling can be a powerful tool for self-reflection and releasing stress. But did you know that writing about your emotions and experiences can help heal your body from the past trauma resulting from a divorce?
Scientific research shows that journaling helps people heal from PTSD and other forms of trauma by processing their emotions, calming the body’s fight-or-flight response, and reducing stress hormones. Journaling about troubling events can make you feel more in control — even if it doesn’t immediately solve or erase them — and having a written record of how you got through a difficult time can be empowering.
You don’t have to write in detail to reap the benefits of journaling. Writing regularly, even if it’s just jotting down a few keywords or feelings, can give you insight into yourself and your experiences. Writing down stories or events as they’re happening – be it positive or negative – strengthens the connection between your thoughts and feelings. As you reflect on your entries, you’ll build self-awareness, gain insight into your behavior patterns, understand better how to manage your emotions, and begin to release some of the traumatic energy held within.
Journaling accesses hidden areas of your brain
If you think back to the Kate and Leo classic, The Titanic, icebergs are largely hidden underwater. Conventional wisdom shows that as much as 90% of the iceberg is below sea grade. Our brains are just like this. The easiest example to give is that you don’t consciously think about breathing. It just happens.
Journaling accesses the unconscious mind, which can provide insight into patterns of behavior or thought that may be impacting your mental health. By writing down any thoughts that come to mind without judgment, you can uncover deeper meanings and motivations behind your actions.
The effect is even greater when using journal prompts designed to help you heal from trauma and move through and past a traumatic event.
Tips for Getting Started With Journaling
If the idea of journaling brings up feelings of dread and intimidation, don’t worry—you don’t have to be a well-versed writer to reap the rewards. Here are some tips to help you get started with journaling:
- Start Small – You don’t have to write a full page at once. Start small and keep it simple.
- Time Limit – Try setting a timer for 5-10 minutes and just write whatever comes to mind before the timer goes off.
- Pen/Paper – You don’t need anything special—just a pen/pencil and paper will do! Don’t let technology become an obstacle between you and your healing process! Journaling with pen/paper allows you to be fully present in the moment, which can help make your healing process a little easier.
- Prompts – If you feel stuck, try using prompts like “What is my biggest fear right now?” or “What am I grateful for today?” Or, of course, download my journal prompts for trauma healing after divorce. Writing down your thoughts can be easier with specific prompts in mind–you can even try combining different prompt types for maximum effect!
Using these tips can help make journaling less overwhelming and more enjoyable! With practice, the process of writing may help bring out more positive reflections from within. Which trauma healing journal prompts will you try?
Creating a Safe Space for Reflections
You can create a safe space for your healing journey to process the trauma of divorce. You may find that the words start to flow just like a release valve when you finally have the courage to put pen to paper or fingers to keys and explore your innermost thoughts.
How to foster a safe space
Here are some tips on how you can approach this process in order to open up and write in a safe way:
- Find a comfortable spot – It’s important that you feel at ease while writing. Find somewhere comfortable where you can focus, such as somewhere quiet where there won’t be any distractions.
- Write from the heart – Don’t be afraid of putting your true feelings onto paper. Don’t think about what other people might think – this is for your eyes only!
- Focus on healing – You are writing to heal so always focus on positive ways forward, not getting stuck dwelling in the past.
- Let it flow naturally – Writing should be natural and effortless, so allow yourself time and space for your thoughts and emotions to come out without forcing them out or artificially censoring them.
Integrating Journaling Into Your Self-Care Routine
Journaling about divorce-related trauma can be an insightful and emotional process, so finding a journaling style that works for you is important. If you’re just starting out, try keeping a simple daily journal and write down your thoughts, feelings, and words of affirmation each day. If you’re looking for affirmation suggestions, I include some in the Post-Divorce Roadmap.
Building a Routine
To make journaling part of your self-care routine, start by finding a space and time to write. You don’t have to spend hours writing; take a few minutes daily. Having an allocated time to write allows you to set these reflections into action and makes them much more achievable. If mornings aren’t your sweet spot because you have an early work start or dedicate your time to getting the kids out of the house, find another time you can commit to.
Different Types of Journaling
There are many different types of journaling that you can explore if one form, like creative writing, doesn’t work for you. Creative journaling, such as drawing, painting or doodling, can help add a visual dimension to your journey – while gratitude journaling is another way to bring positivity back into your life by writing down the things you’re grateful for. Whichever method resonates with you most, give yourself permission to use it freely – no one else needs to see what you’ve scribbled down in your notebook!
By making the powerful act of writing part of your self-care routine, you are taking charge of the healing process from divorce-related trauma.
Advice From Professionals on Using Journaling for Healing
You might wonder, is journaling an effective way to heal from divorce-related trauma? Research has shown the answer is a resounding yes! When journaling, you focus on expressing your emotions and feelings in an entirely safe space. Where you wouldn’t otherwise be comfortable with symptoms such as anger, you may be surprised writing in a journal is not only a way to help with trauma but also a way to find meaning or look for silver linings in your situation. This safe space can help you recognize patterns and start the healing process.
More Questions About Treatment?
Journaling can be part of an overall healing process that involves seeking professional help. If you are struggling with divorce-related trauma and need a little more support, it’s important to talk to a mental health professional who can assess your situation and develop a customized treatment plan.
Check Your Stress Level
Another important factor when developing a healing strategy for divorce-related trauma is managing your stress level. Taking breaks throughout the day to relax and meditate can profoundly reduce stress and improve mental well-being. Additionally, physical activities like walking or running can also help reduce stress levels.
In conclusion, it’s important to remember that journaling can be an important tool for healing from the trauma of divorce. You don’t need to be a master of the written word to benefit from it- the real power comes from being honest with yourself, writing about your thoughts, and accepting that you can take charge of the healing process.
It’s difficult to trust the process at first, but with time and patience, journaling can provide healing that traditional therapy and medications cannot. Now that you understand the basics of journaling for healing from divorce-related trauma, it’s time to give it a try- you may find that you don’t need all the external sources of support you initially thought you did.
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